Why Go Vegan?

My twin Trevor is awesome. What you may not know is that he recently became vegan, which is crazy since he used to make so much fun of me for being a vegetarian, and now I’m the one who eats meat occasionally.
Anyway, he sent an email to our family a few months ago justifying his decision; his analysis is long, thoughtful, researched, and definitely worth sharing!
“I know this email is a bit long but bear with me! I think it’s important. A quick summary: animal agriculture is insanely destructive to our planet, so I am going to start to follow a vegan diet.

I recently watched a documentary on Netflix, Cowspiracy, that shocked and disturbed me. In it, multiple experts claim that animal agriculture is the major contributor to climate change. The documentary claims that 51% of greenhouse gas emissions are from animal agriculture (per this report). I was (and still am) skeptical of this figure, so I did a little digging around. The FAO, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, reports that 14.5% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions come from animal agriculture, beating out the global transportation industry at 13%!

Perhaps more disturbing than the livestock industry’s contribution to greenhouse gases is its disturbance to global ecosystems. Conversion of forest to grassland accounts for 80% of deforestation, especially in Latin America, the home of the world’s largest and most biodiverse forests. Across the globe, ecosystems are destroyed to support the monocultures of animal husbandry and the grains that feed them. Livestock consume 50% of the world’s grain, 75% of the world’s soy and almost half of the U.S.’s corn production goes toward feeding cattle. Animal agriculture also consumes increasing amounts of the Earth’s land, taking up 30% of the Earth’s landmass in 2006! Furthermore, agriculture, especially animal agriculture, is the major contributor to water pollution and ocean dead zones.

Finally, animal agriculture consumes a massive amount of water. In the US, livestock use 56% of our water. Producing 1 kg of animal protein requires about 100 times more water than producing 1 kg of grain protein. That’s insane, especially considering the recent drought in the Western US.

So, in conclusion, I’m going vegan. Let me know what you guys think!”

3 Comment

  1. Janice says: Reply

    Love this! I try to be vegan during the week and vegetarian on the weekends. Cheese and eggs seem to be my “sticking” point! Anyway- I feel very good about my choice and feel great in many ways. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  2. Lydia says: Reply

    Trevor makes some great points 🙂

  3. Craig says: Reply

    I have also recently embraced a “flexatarian” eating style, which for me is primarily pescatarian, but once-in-a-while I will have chicken or pork. Besides the environmental damage you so thoroughly listed above, there’s also the serious concern of animal abuse. There are many great Ted Talks and documentaries that highlight the horrific and inhumane treatment of animals that I really didn’t consider seriously until I witnessed actual photos and videos.

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